Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, September 16, 2018
There’s a 9-race card at Belmont Park today, with the opener going off at 1:30 PM EDT. We’ve got picks & analysis of all the action from Jason Perry (@jmanmetsfan1)! Jason has written for Danonymous Racing before, and he handicapped Saratoga on Sundays all meet long. He’s back for Belmont coverage.
Take it away, Jason!
Tale of Mist (3) races off the Toscano reclaim. He’s not a horse that likes to win, but he has finished second or third in all six of his main track races. There are many opponents today in which you have to wonder if they can still run at all. I never select horses that hang like this guy, but I would certainly include him in exotics. Likewise, Class Won (6) is hard to get behind on top. He’s always raced for a strong trainer, and he was a non-threatening second at this level last out. However, he had trouble at the break, and finds a soft group on Sunday. The Diodoro/Cohen connection has been formidable at Belmont to say the least. Typically, I’m against a horse like this, but this looks like a real good spot.
I’m leery of La Cat Warrior (2) . He surprised in his debut, and has gone backwards since. The race off his long layoff wasn’t good. Now he’s dropped in class, and adds the blinkers, but that’s an irrelevant equipment change for this barn.
Pirate’s Treasure (5) is a bit intriguing off a “jail move” in which he takes a big rise in class after being claimed for far less than he’s entered for on Sunday. Gary Gullo is good at the claiming game, but my trepidation stems from the use of a jockey this barn doesn’t use with live runners.
Belleview Spring (1) is a viable long shot. He drops in class, and returns to the distance and surface he has had the most success at. I always say you want to pay attention to Cannizzo when he uses a top rider, and Jose Ortiz will take the call on Sunday. From the rail I’d like to see a stalking position early, because he had success rating a bit early in his career. He’s been facing better than these, and could wake up on a drop.
Comeoncomeon Cat (7) has one career win, and it came against lesser in the slop. I’m not interested at anything like the 4-1 ML.
Somebody will beat Malibu Mischief (1) here. She faced maiden claimers in her debut, then ran decent on a track that was obscenely speed favoring when trying straight maidens second out. Look elsewhere on top.
It Justhitthe Wire (7) won at big odds, but was disqualified. Now you have to accept short odds if you land here. It’s that missed the wedding thing….I could see her winning for sure, but won’t accept a really short price. I think a first time starter wins this race, and there are four of interest. Marc Keller and Robert Ribaudo won with a first time starter on Saturday, but that one debuted with Lasix.
I’m not sure why the relatively high priced Jasminique (6) is not doing the same. Ribaudo’s winner yesterday, Aquariva, attracted Johnny V, and the same cannot be said here. I’m definitely still using her, but I don’t have the same confidence.
Canteen (3) cost a lot of money, but I watched her most recent workout, and thought it was mediocre at best. I would not leave her out given her strong connections, but I am leery after seeing her under pressure to keep up in that drill. I also wonder why she has been working exclusively here at Belmont, and was never pointed towards Saratoga.
I feel like Italic (2) could have run at Saratoga, but Bill Mott wanted to give her plenty of time. She hasn’t missed a beat in the morning, as far as consistency goes. It’s also encouraging to see Jose Ortiz take the call. Mott has been much more live with maidens than in years past.
Ballet Slippers (5) is probably going to need a race. But, I do love her pedigree. She’s out of Tapit, and a nice race mare who’s mom, Balletto, was a millionaire racing for a Darley. The jock choice is dubious. Lezcano has yet to land a live runner for Albetrani.
I don’t know how Dr. Edgar (9) would not be seen as the horse to beat here. He’s essentially won two straight races at this level, and at the same approximate distance. Prior to that he was campaigned by a lower profile barn, and his new trainer Barclay Tagg has had him ready to roll. He’s really had to battle some quick early fractions, and has shown he can survive such scenarios.
Unlockthepotential (6) is seemingly his chief rival. While I admit this colt has ability, there are some concerns. He was a high priced two-year old in training purchase that didn’t run until the age of three. I’ve seen an increasing number of that type underwhelm. It actually makes sense. A fast, and precocious two-year old that goes to the shelf obviously encountered problems along the way, physically or mentally. This gelding has been exclusively campaigned sprinting, so the distance is also suspect.
Therefore, his biggest rival may turn out to be Fast Boat (7). This son of the late City Zip has done nothing wrong in his three race career. He figures to sit a great trip, and I think he’s the classiest, albeit lightly raced, of this bunch. In his three career starts he’s hooked some serious rivals. After running into Analyze It in his debut he won easily second out. Don’t forget Christophe Clement had an awesome Belmont Spring meet, and may simply be lining up his horses to perform well here, as opposed to other trainers looking for a big Saratoga meet.
With an inside draw, and an aggressive jockey Morrison (2) could be the pace setter. Two of his three wins came over an off main track, and a yielding turf course though. There’s little reason to believe we haven’t seen his best as well. He could win, but 2-1 seems awfully unappealing, and unrealistic. As strong as Joe Sharp has been, I’m preferring others.
High Promise (4) finally broke through. That was going a much further distance, and I think little of the rivals he bested. Midnight Tea Time would be like 50-1 in this spot.
Zing Zang (8) tries the turf here, and I’ll surmise that move in one word….stab. Forget about him.
Via Egnatia (1A) is a need the lead type that’s probably up against it.
I felt real good about closing out a pick 4 when my single Wisecrack (2) rocketed out from the gate establishing a clear early lead. He stopped on a dime with little resistance after that, and I cannot give him another shot as a first time gelding. Rick Violette is better first time out than second, and turf sprints are not his game.
Christophe Clement excels in turf sprints, conversely, and I think a repeat of his last performance, should be good enough to put Wicked Grin (1) in the winners’ circle. This son of Jimmy Creed has seemingly found a very soft spot. Early Retirement (12) has every right to improve turning back in distance. He ran into a really well meant rival, over a track that favored speed most recently.
Qian B C (9) was well supported in his debut, and encountered some excusable trouble in the meantime. There’s some upside here. I can’t make a case for anyone else.
Wow, someone has to win here. There is a bunch of hangers in this group, along with an eight time winner. So I certainly have to use that eight time victor, H Man (2). He had a poor start that compromised his chances racing first off the claim for Rudy when last seen. I still thought he flattened out quite a bit that day, and I would probably want to try to beat him since he struggles to get through conditions, but this is a weak group.
I don’t really care for the rail draw for Wushu Warrior (1). He runs the risk of getting shuffled back with quicker horses drawing outside. He just seems a bit slow, even on his best day.
I Love Jaxson (3) will race with blinkers on as a first time gelding. His last effort was poor, but he’s run well fresh, and this barn does OK with layoffs of this nature.
The lone win for Nolinski (5) came against maiden claimers in the mud. This is obviously a significant jock change, but it’s probably going to come at the cost of underlay odds.
Proletariat (7) has had a hard time finishing races. His first race for a new barn last out was his worst in quite some time. His finished behind H Man on three straight occasions, and I’m not sure why we would see any change.
I want to take a little shot with Royal Heist (4). He’s the lightly raced runner in here, but that also means he’s done the least wrong. Forget about his last start over a yielding turf course. He has actually been pretty well supported at the windows considering he races for a low profile barn. He is the quickest early of the group, and could get overlooked with stronger connections saddling other runners. He could forget to stop against these.
There seems to be a lot of early speed in this maiden claimer on grass. That should compromise the chances of morning line favorite Wicked Freud (3). He drops in class, and draws well though. A smart ride from Irad Ortiz could put him in the winners’ circle, but he’s probably not going to end up there if they are hell bent for the lead. I’ve given up on both quick early runners Electro (2), as well as Victor Lounge (5). The latter could not stay the course on a day the turf was very speed favoring. At least the former will get back on a firm turf. It’s been a while since that has happened. KPM saddles a pair of well bred disappointments.
I’m not very interested in either Ajwibah (7) or Union Wise (8) as they are clearly flawed. However, if you land here at least you get paid if either surprises.
A I Initiative (12) gave me a huge run at a big price in a race I gave him a shot. I still can’t believe a hanger like Ride on Curlin ran me down. He adds blinkers in an attempt to keep him focused late. He draws a tough post though with a short run into the first turn. In his last start he really did sit a perfect trip on a day you wanted to be on or near the lead. It’s hard to imagine him not getting marooned here.
Novus (11) woke up on the drop as many Clement trainees do. I’m bothered by the fact that he didn’t run back at Saratoga after finishing a decent second in July here at Belmont. I don’t want to over think this one though. The race looks to set up perfectly for him. If Franco can get him over to the inside, and make one late run, he should close willingly against these.
Shiloh Lane (4) gets back on a course with less give, and could pass tired horses for a minor share at a huge price.
Driven By Thunder (3) is a seven time winner that was dropped in for a tag having used up most of his conditions. Rudy Rodriguez is obviously shrewd with claiming horses, and this gelding looks the best early speed in a race that doesn’t have much in the way of speedy rivals.
Macagone (7) used to have big speed, but as he’s gotten older it has diminished some. He ran pretty well last out considering the race he exits completely came apart, and he was up close throughout. At the end of the day, it was a race he was supposed to win. The first and third place finishers had pretty poor resumes prior to the race.
I thought Sycamore Lane (8) would win a lot easier than he did with a big class drop for Brad Cox. He goes back to Bill Mott after a rare Mott claim, and in this case an encouraging re-claim. That said, it’s really hard to claim from Cox. This gelding likes Belmont, and is probably best going shorter distances like this though.
Astounding (6) is tough to omit racing for Jason Servis. I’m a bit surprised he wasn’t given a shot against N2x rivals off the layoff, so we’ve certainly seen this guys ceiling. I think he’s hard to leave out of horizontals, but think he can be beaten, and I definitely prefer others more.
I thought Lucky Ramsey (4) looked like a smart claim for owner and trainer Joe Sharp. However, he was pretty lifeless on the board in his first start for Sharp, and he ran poorly.
Hard to be creative in this five horse field of allowance optional claimers. Celtic Chaos (3) was butchered by Eric Cancel two back racing for Brad Cox for the first time. Cancel made amends in his subsequent start, turning the tables on Weekend Hideaway. This son of Dublin is a hard hitter, but at his best he’s not as fast as a couple of his rivals.
My Boy Tate (2) got the better of him the last two times that they squared off. Tate became quite the beast when he was turned back to sprint distances. He had a five race win streak snapped last out when he couldn’t handle the classier Always Sunshine, who was dropping out of stakes races against better. This gelding is versatile, and can win on the lead, or from a stalking position. This will be his first race outside of races restricted to New York State bred rivals. Nevertheless, this is essentially a lateral move in class as he’s a five time winner squaring off against Nx3 other than foes.
True Timber (5) comes in off a career best effort in which defeated a next out winner trained by Chad Brown, Patternrecognition. That day he stopped the clock in a sizzling 1:21.4, and he actually overcame trouble after stumbling at the start. He will be piloted by Joe Bravo, a rider that’s had awesome success riding for this barn. Bravo is best with these type that like to be forwardly placed, and draw outside. It’s hard for me to separate the top two, and I will definitely use both, but I’ll give this guy the slightest of nods.
Spread in the finale. I have zero faith in Joe’s Smokin Gun (10). I don’t care about the big jock change, it will ensure he’s an underlay. This horse has zero interest in finishing races. In his defense is a possible favorable pace scenario, that should ironically make him a must use in exotics.
Run for Boston (2) is also really hard to like. The aforementioned hanger bested him three straight times before that last common race that was won by a huge long shot. No way I land here.
Mr. Massena (11) is coming off a long layoff with a slew of questions to answer. Who knows how he will perform for Mike Miceli. But, if he can reproduce any of his grass race performances at this level when racing for Mott, they are running for second. I don’t know if that can happen, but oddly enough, I think it’s his race to win or lose. Jeremiah Englehart is sizzling right now.
I can’t leave out Lemon Blitz (8) in a race like this. He’s done less wrong than others, and Joe Bravo lands on some live runners for this barn.
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